Simmer: Just Another Hot Pot

For those of you who’ve never had hot pot, it is the art of cooking food in a pot of boiling broth. It is a great way to have an interactive meal and catch up with friends of loved ones. Simmer is a hot pot spot located in the Sunset District of San Francisco that offers an all you eat menu every Tuesday and Thursday for just $24 per person

The Wait

Hot pot is extremely popular in the Bay Area and you can expect long lines on Tuesdays and Thursdays due to the special. On the day I went, Jen and I had to wait about an hour and a half before being seated. While the restaurant was located on the corner of a block, there was only about 20-22 tables available. Simmer does not take reservations so be sure to get there around the 5pm opening if you want to snag a seat right away. Otherwise be prepared for a hefty wait.

The Food

Simmer lets you split your cooking pot into two halves. We had tom yum soup on one side and pork bone broth on the other. The tom yum broth was extremely tangy and while the soup was good, it overpowered the food we were cooking. On the other hand, the pork bone broth was light and mellow.

Pro Tip: When doing hot pot stick to a lighter broth so that the soup does not over power the ingredients.

Simmer has a large selection of meats with several varieties of beef, lamb, pork, chicken. Their menu also had a large selection of vegetables and noodles. The vegetables looked pretty fresh. Their seafood choices had some room for improvement, but was pretty solid. The best part about Simmer was that they offered sliced Wagyu Beef as option. The Wagyu was extremely tasty and the texture was smooth and there was not a single hint of chewiness.


At $24 per person, the final bill for our party of 3 came in just under $100 after tax and tip. While the meal did not include drinks, there is an all you can eat and drink option for $37 that includes a solid selection of alcoholic beverages. An all you can eat hot pot dinner typically runs well north of $30 so Simmer was definitely considered a steal.

Final Verdict

While the food was solid, the tom yum broth was a poor choice on my part. The broth’s lemongrass was far to strong for hot pot. Although the price was steal and the food was solid, it is difficult to imagine coming here again as the wait times are just outrageous. Arriving at just before 6pm, we were not seated til after 7:30pm. That’s a pretty long wait for a Tuesday Evening. Overall, Simmer was a solid but unspectacular experience.

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